What can I do in 5 minutes in the morning to make my whole day better? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Nela Canovic, MBA with 10+ years experience working in tech:
You can create a simple ritual that will keep your mind focused on positive things every day.
What takes only 5 minutes to do?
Something as simple as writing.
Who can write?
Everyone. It's not anything fancy, complicated, or formal. It's just for you.
How do I start?
Get a blank notebook. With lines, with a grid, or without any lines at all. Any size. Then dedicate it to be your 5-minute journal that you will write in for exactly 5 minutes every day.
Note: you won't need to spend the full 5 minutes in the morning writing; you will finish your journal entry before going to sleep.
What should I write?
PART 1: In the morning (approximate time you will need: 3 minutes)
I am grateful for:
Write down 3 things you are grateful for today. Think about what you already have in your life. Don't focus only on material things (such as a car or a computer), but rather think in more simple or basic terms, such as having:
- a roof over your head
- a warm bed to sleep in
- a family member/partner/friend who loves you
- a dog or cat or bird that shares your home
- running water or electricity
- living in a war-free country
- your eyesight
- the ability to read and write
- an education you've already completed, etc.
What would make today truly great?
Write one sentence about something that, if it were to happen, would make you feel like today will be a positive, productive, unique day. You should think about something specific and relevant to your life, for example:
- if you complete your exam and know most of the answers
- if you have time to go to the gym for one hour and also finish your homework by 10 p.m.
- if you go to bed before midnight
- if you spend one hour before going to sleep doing something you love to do, such as reading a book, playing guitar, writing, or painting
- if you have a conversation with a friend who gives you really good advice on solving a specific problem, etc.
Write one sentence using positive (affirmative) words and phrases that will help you clarify your thoughts and restructure the dynamic of your brain so that you will ultimately train yourself to begin to think anything is possible. Here are some examples of positive daily affirmations:
- I trust myself.
- I approve of myself.
- Life supports me in every possible way.
- Every decision I make today is the right one for me.
- I believe in myself.
- My day begins and ends with gratitude and joy.
- I deserve the best and I accept it now.
- I have the wisdom to make the right choice.
- I lead an interesting and unique life.
- I am surrounded by people who truly care about me.
Tip: Learn from the pros! Children can teach us a lot about being confident: watch Jessica's daily affirmation to get more fun ideas on things to write down about your life. You can also learn from a comprehensive list of daily affirmations from Louise Hay, a pioneer in positive philosophy.
PART 2: In the evening (approximate time you will need: 2 minutes)
Reflect on how the day went by writing about the following:
3 wonderful things that happened today
Write 3 sentences on great things that happened to you. Here are some examples of what you can write:
- something you saw or heard that was interesting, surprising, or funny
- something you remembered to do
- something you completed (a book, a long email, cleaning your kitchen)
- advice someone gave you
- a task that that took a shorter amount of time than you anticipated
- good news
- running into a friend
- making it to school or work on time despite heavy traffic
- learning something new
How could I have made today better?
Write one sentence on what you could have done better that day. Here are a few examples of giving yourself suggestions:
- If you ran out of time to do something, write down how you could have managed your time better.
- If you got to work late, write that you could have woken up a bit earlier.
- If you didn't spend enough time with your family or partner, write that you could have come come a bit earlier to have dinner together.
- If you felt rushed and frustrated from having too much to do, write that you could have created a schedule for the entire week so that your workload is spread out more evenly.
- What if you actually managed to do many things in a single day? There is always room for improvement: write down one thing that you could have added to your day, such as having one hour to yourself to do something relaxing, to reward yourself for being so productive.
And that's it! 5 minutes, a few sentences, every day. Congratulations: you've just created a positive habit that doesn't take a lot of time and that sets the tone for your day by focusing on only positive things. Now that's being super productive!